On January 21, the federal holiday commemorating the slain civil rights leader’s birthday, Barack Obama will take his second oath as President of the United States on a Bible of Dr. King’s as well as one owned by Abraham Lincoln, which was used in 2009 for his first swearing-in.
The day before, the President will be inducted at the White House on a Holy Book that once belonged to Michelle Obama’s grandmother, the first African-American woman to manage a Moody’s Bible Institute bookstore.
If all this Biblical swearing seems excessive, it can be understood as a reminder to put into historical perspective the unholy mess in Washington surrounding the start of an African-American’s second term in office.
Solemnity is in short supply as an unruly Congress threatens to keep disrupting government in order to delegitimize him and balks at doing anything to rein in the guns that have killed so many Americans from Dr. King to the children in Newtown.
With the American moral universe bending so far toward injustice these days, any reminders of our historic faith, good sense and optimism should be welcome.
So swear away, Mr. President, and shame the devils in DC.